1st of June
I am writing this during the Olympics in Canada and everybody is wondering if his or her country is getting a medal. Is their favorite getting a gold medal? Disappointment and joy go side by side. Some people have enormous expectations and get very upset when these are not met. It is not easy for the participants to make their best under these conditions. Quite a few get nervous. I am very impressed by those who win and feel very sorry for those who loose. No one comes to the Olympics without training for months and years, maybe thousands of hours.
Some of you might wonder how this can apply to you. You might not have any plan to participate in the Olympics or any other game. The fact is that all of us are running a race that we want to win. I want to write down 1.Cor.9:24-27: “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus; not with uncertainty. Thus I fight; not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”
If you are to become a good sportsman, you have to give up a lot of pleasure and you have to discipline yourself. You have to stay away from excessive use of alcohol and from tobacco. One has to keep his or her body in a very good shape. A passive life in front of the television is forbidden then. One has to eat and drink the right things and the right amount. There must be a balance between rest and activity and one needs a proper sleep. One has to exercise again and again, but needs to learn how to relax. Psychologists are just as important as doctors are when they arrange great competitions. Your mind is just as important as your body.
I have many times heard that people avoid taking a stand for Christ since they hesitate to give up their own desires. They want to live according to their flesh. Some people think that a Christian life-style is boring. I can assure you that it is not boring, but there is a price to pay. Jesus has paid the price for our sins, but in order for us to reach the ultimate goal, heaven, we need to follow the principles of the Word. . I recommend you to read the entire 9th chapter of 1.Cor. Paul describes a life of self-denial. Is the purpose to win a game or to serve others? I want to serve Christ by serving others. I have given up a lot of material advantages and been willing to move around without the security of a stable place. My security is in Christ.
The Spirit has really asked me to take care of my body lately. It has to function as long as I serve Christ here on this earth. I already have some illnesses and I have to do my part in order to prevent more. I know that I can be healed from my sicknesses. 1.Tim.4:8 says that bodily exercises profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that is now and of that which is to come. This is the difference between a sportsman and the Christian. During the Olympics they talked a lot about the body and the mind, but what about the spirit? We can read in 1.Thess.5:23 that we are spirit, soul and body. Our spirit is the most important part according to the Bible. We have to train it every day, not only once a week when we attend church. When we wake up in the morning, we should have an encounter with Jesus and that should be the first word that we pronounce. If you speak in tongues, you can start the motor right away and start loading the batteries. How about a little praise and worship during the shower? Fill yourself with some spiritual bread and pray for the day. Why? I want your day to be a successful one. Do you want to overcome the enemy to-day? Have you put on the armor of God? Did you cover yourself with the blood of Jesus? Revelation 12:11 says: “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” You become victorious through the Blood and the Word.
A sportsman talks about “my training and my strength and my performances.” But the strength of a Christian lies in what Jesus already has performed. I quote 2.Cor.2:14: “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrances of His knowledge in every place.” I will never win a medal in the Olympics, but I can always be victorious in Christ. I am not always a winner and the reasons can be many. Maybe I haven’t spent time with the Lord or avoided my Bible reading. Jesus, Himself, said to the enemy: “It is written.” We are not winners because of our strength, but because of His. We read in Col. 2:15 that Jesus disarmed the principalities and powers and made a public spectacle of them. Where? On the Cross.
You cannot expect to live a victorious life if you live in sin. The devil has an opening into your life then. The same is true if you cannot forgive. If you cannot forgive, God will not forgive you either. Read Matthew 6:14+15. If I live a life in bitterness and I am unforgiving, I cannot expect to be a winner. If you lose, don’t blame God. You haven’t followed the prescription. Many have a tendency to stay down, once they have lost, but that is not the will of God. Micah 7:8 says: “Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; when I fall, I will arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me.” The devil wants to blame us and comes with accusations and he is an expert in condemning. We might feel bad and at the end we might even feel sorry for ourselves. We might be so depressed that we need help in order to arise. God is a good God. He wants us to confess our sins, forgive others and ourselves and then go on. Do not allow one mistake to become many!
We read in Col.2:18: “Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind.” We should be humble before God, but this is a fleshly one. God is the only One to be worshipped and if we have revelations, they should come from God. Since those revelations are given, we have nothing to boast about. The Holy Spirit will always point at Jesus and if we are sidetracked from the Cross and the victory one there, we will lose the power to overcome and win a victory. We might get so lost that we never reach the ultimate goal, Heaven.
I want you to follow me to Phil.3. Paul says in verse 12 and 13 that he is far from perfect, but he presses on, forgetting the things which are behind and reaches forward to those things which are ahead. There are times when the Holy Spirit brings forth things from the past, but do not dig for them yourself. If the past hinders you in living a victorious life, God will come with healing and sometimes deliverance. The military doesn’t send a wounded soldier out in war, nor does God. It is much easier to be a winner if you are healthy and happy.
Our final goal is an eternal life with God in Heaven, but in order to reach there, we need to overcome some obstacles in our earthly life. I will end this chapter by quoting 1.John 5:4:
“FOR WHATEVER IS BORN OF GOD OVERCOMES THE WORLD. AND THIS IS THE VICTORY THAT HAS OVERCOME THE WORLD – OUR FAITH.
MAY GOD BLESS YOUR “FAITH-WALK” !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!